Josh Kennison, an elite para-athlete from South Paris, has been selected to compete in the 100m and 200m sprints at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France on July 21 and 22.
While prestigious, being selected to compete in this event is just one in a long line of athletic accomplishments for Kennison, whose track and field credits include breaking the world record for the long jump in 2013.
A quad amputee who was born missing both of his feet and arms, as well as his tongue and half of his jaw, Kennison is the embodiment of what it means to overcome all obstacles.
Sparked by a life-long love of sports, he began running track and playing soccer in middle school. His passion and competitive para-athletic career lit up in high school, when he received running legs from his prosthetics doctor and realized his propensity for speed. Soon afterwards, he placed in the top three at an Arizona track meet and never looked back.
He went on to become a member of the USA Paralympic Track Team, won four medals at the 2010 Endeavor Games, and is gearing up for the 2016 Paralympics.
“I am always training,” said Kennison about his competitive process. “I am always trying, always preparing. You have to stay focused all the time.”
Even more impressive than Kennison’s athletic accomplishments are his achievements off the track. A motivational speaker and recipient of the 2010 Amway Hero award, he is also involved with the Never Say Never Foundation, which provides running legs, wheelchairs, and other equipment to help amputees remain active.
Additionally, he attends Camp No Limits, an organization for children and families with limb loss that teaches basic skills such as tying shoes and playing sports.
“You can do anything you want as long as you have the right mindset,” Kennison says. “I never give up. I am going to make it happen whether it takes days, or weeks, or months. Getting the world record was amazing, but now I want to take it to the next level. I want to take home a gold medal.”
Kennison’s events may be viewed on livestream on Sunday July 21 at 6:19 p.m. and Monday July 22 at 5:16 p.m. See www.youtube.com/paralympicsporttv.
After his return from France, fans will have an opportunity to meet Kennison at Norway Savings Bank, a proud sponsor of Kennison’s since 2010, where he will be signing autographs.